Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Louisiana State University Hilltop Arboretum aims to provide a sanctuary for visitors to learn about landscape and design. Visitors can study plants, nature, and landscape design with world renowned educators who simply want to share their love of nature and all the beauty it possesses.

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The Hilltop Arboretum came to exist when Mr. Emory Smith donated his 14-acre property to Louisiana State University in 1981. With the intent that it remains an educational tool, the property was put under the care and direction of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture. It is intended to be utilized as an outdoor laboratory for native plant enthusiasts, university students, and the surrounding Baton Rouge community.

Friends and supporters of the Hilltop Arboretum realized what a positive impact the property had on education and decided to build a facility in 1999 to accommodate its growing educational program and outdoor classroom.

The building, filled with windows and flowing with open space, seems as if it is floating gracefully over a beautiful lake. It was designed by architect Ted Flato and perfectly blends in with its natural landscape. Renovations in 2001 expanded the facility to include a gift shop, library, and an open-air pavilion. The facility was completed in 2013 when the newest addition was completed – the addition of a conference center and a courtyard. It is the first LEED Certified building at the university.

Programs & Activities:

There are a variety of seasonal and annual events to attend at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum, including garden tours, garden day trips, and butterfly garden camps. Events at the Hilltop are not just for students and researchers, there are plenty of items on the calendar for children and families.

Youth Programs:

For young children, ages 7-10, the Backyard Butterfly Garden Camp is a fantastic way to spend the morning. They will learn how to help build healthy homes for butterflies and see some fluttering friends up close and personal. This camp is held in the springtime, typically in April.

Also designed for children ages 7-10 is the Backyard Habitat Gardener Camp. Children will focus on learning the basics of growing and maintaining their very own garden! This camp is held during the summer months, typically in June.

Summer Sprouts Camp is specially designed for young children ages 4-6. They will get to experience a fun outdoor nature camp. This camp is help during the summer months, typically in June.

The Landscape Architecture Explorations program is a weeklong summer day camp for children ages 14-18. It is designed to help them explore various professions in landscape architecture in order to encourage creative expression and critical thinking.

Field trips can also be held at the Arboretum, they are sure to be both fun and educational! The topics and themes can be customized and accommodated to meet teacher’s needs.

Adult Programs:

Children don’t get to have all the fun, there are also fun events for adults too!

The Discover Nature Program is usually held in May and visitors will learn about various garden good guys like snakes, toads, frogs and bats. Visitors will learn how these so-called pests can actually help keep gardens safe from truly bothersome pests and much more about the local ecosystem that a garden contains.

The Annual Gardening Symposium is held in January and features lectures on various gardening topics, including horticulture, landscape architecture, garden history, and other green professions. Lots of great items are available for sale at this event including cookbooks, gardening books, and all kinds of plants.

Upcoming Events:

The Spring Garden Day Trip will be hosted on May 3, 2017 and will truly be a cultural experience. The tour will delve into the unique Adadiana Country of South Louisiana. Visitors will experience the language, the food, and the landscape of the beautiful culture. Vistors will visti the Rip Van Winle Gardens, the Joseph Jefferson Mansion, Café Jefferson, a tour of the TABASCO Musuem and Factory, a quick stop at Lejeune’s Bakery, and will end with a wne and cheese party at the Historic Weeks Home.

The Spring Garden Tour – We are Family! – is being held on Sunday May 7, 2017 from 1-5pm. The tour will feature gardens in several neighborhoods within Baton Rouge, including Riverbend, Webb Park, and Old Goodwood.

These are just two of the many events hosted annually at the Hilltop, others include the Spring Fling Plant Sale, PlantFestival, and a Year End Plant Sale.

Additional Information:

LSU Hilltop Arboretum, 11855 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70810,

LSU Hilltop Arboretum, 11855 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70810, Phone: 225-767-6916

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